Even though the art scene is bustling in Dubai, I have still found it a challenge to meet creative people living and working here who have unique and very original concepts of art ( whether in fashion or photography). People say they want to change but so far it seems like a very slow process and no one wants to take risks. In fact I found the whole scene rather mediocre until I met one of my favorite creatives in Dubai, Mansoor Bhatti, ( aka Mannbutte) who recently created and presented a collective called The Brave Art with the goal of positioning art as a brand. " The Brave Art includes many other talented photographers and stylists who want to be brave with their work, check out their website for more information and to order fabulous canvas art works.
There are plenty of artists I like , each who have different styles, so I typically don't follow one style or artist. I am inspired greatly by people. When I look at someone I get ideas right away and sometimes people might think I am staring at them when in fact I am in my own imaginary world, which helps me showcase models in a new way always.
Favorite Websites and Publications?
- I follow hunger.tv and I-Dvice.com- both seem to be breaking creative boundaries and do not live for luxury fashion only.
- I also follow design and inspiration blogs chicquero.com and designspiration.com
Most memorable photo shoot so far and why?
The Lakes. It’s a shot I took in Hatta pools where the model Elena is swallowing a sardine fish that we got from a grocery story. The whole journey was full of adventures. Two of us drove to Hatta at 3 am and reached there by 5:30 due to foggy conditions. She had the fish in her mouth for about 15 minutes and was standing in very VERY cold water until I felt I had captured the shot just right. On our way back she felt sick and it was really tough managing the whole drive back home.
How is the creative industry changing in Dubai?
It’s getting better but very slowly. The people are not brave enough to break boundaries and think of fresh ideas that stand out. Also I think the ideas, specially editorials and campaigns are way too commercial.
Anything else you want to share?
I want to encourage artists/creatives/MUA’s etc to open themselves to work with other people. When there is a great mix there is better work produced. People in Dubai work in smaller groups and do not collaborate with new/young artists that can give us fresh ideas. We are repetitive. Lets change that.